Dambusters hero’s daughter appeals for return of his stolen logbook
Shere Lowe said she saw the missing record as a “piece” of her father as she issued a heartfelt plea for its return.
The daughter of a Dambusters hero has launched an appeal to trace his stolen logbook, urging people to come forward and help “bring a piece of Dad home”.
Shere Lowe, 61, is offering a £5,000 reward for information leading to the safe return of the memento, which belonged to the late Sergeant John Fraser, an RAF airman in the famous 617 Squadron.
Military historian Alexander Bateman, 48, was jailed for two years at Wood Green Crown Court, north London, in February after he was found guilty of stealing the treasured record.
Sgt Fraser’s widow, 93-year-old Doris, had lent the logbook to Bateman, of Headstone Lane, Harrow, north-west London, for research in 1996. But he lied repeatedly when he was asked to return the item and it has never been recovered, prompting fears it may have been sold.
Ms Lowe, who lives in Blaine, Washington in the US, told the Press Association she saw the missing record as a “piece” of her father as she issued a heartfelt plea for its return.
Speaking while visiting the UK, where she marked the 74th anniversary of the Dambusters raid, Ms Lowe said: “I lost my father at a very young age, my mum lost her husband at a very young age. This is not a document, it’s not a piece of paper, it’s a piece of my father’s legacy of courage.
“Because I lost him at such a young age, I value anything about my father and this is a record of what he did with 50 Squadron as well as 617 Squadron – the whole time he was active in the military. I think that the logbook just finishes the story, it’s all part of his service to our country and especially to the Royal Air Force. I look at it as a piece of my father. It might sound strange, but that’s what it is.”
Addressing anyone who might know where the book is, she said: “Please help us to bring a piece of dad home, instead of looking at it like it’s a commodity.”
Sgt Fraser, who was born in Canada, was one of 133 Allied aircrew who took part in the daring mission to destroy dams in Nazi Germany on May 16 and 17 1943. His plane was shot down and Sgt Fraser was captured, interrogated by the Germans and held as a prisoner of war for two years before being liberated by the Russians.
He moved to Canada with his wife following the conflict but tragically died in an air accident in 1962, leaving behind three children.
The family of Sgt Fraser’s crewmate Ken Earnshaw, who died in the raid, had also lent his logbook and a photo album to Bateman, it has emerged. Police recovered the collection of 290 wartime images during a search of the historian’s home and asked Ms Lowe to ensure their safe return, but the logbook has not been found.
Ms Lowe presented the album to members of the Earnshaw family during an emotional reunion at the Bomber Command Museum of Canada in Alberta, last month.